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'Alan Kelly will work with Brendan Howlin to rebuild Labour'

Sources say that Kelly will stay in the party.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

FORMER LABOUR LEADER Eamon Gilmore says that Alan Kelly will remain in the party to help rebuild it.

Kelly lost out to Brendan Howlin in the contest to succeed Joan Burton after failing to obtain the backing of another Labour TD.

Kelly, who spoke candidly on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show last week about his ambition to be the party’s leader, failed to show up to Howlin’s announcement in Dublin.

Kelly did later release a statement, saying he wished Brendan Howlin well as leader of the Labour Party and congratulated him on “what is a proud day for him, his family, friends and supporters”.

A tweet from the former Environment Minister sparked a flurry of speculation that he would leave the party yesterday evening.

However, sources familiar with the situation say that Kelly has no intention of leaving the party and the tweet was not designed to signal dissatisfaction.

Rebuild

Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One today, Eamon Gilmore said the former deputy leader of the party would do just that.

“I spoke to Alan Kelly today and he is someone for whom I have the utmost respect. He is a strong, energetic politician.

He will work with Brendan to rebuild the Labour Party. I know that they have spoken about this.

“I know he is disappointed that he did not get to contest an election but he will work with Brendan to rebuild the party.

“What members should do now is roll up their sleeves and get on with the work of rebuilding the party.”

Gilmore said that Howlin can unify the party, which took a drubbing in February’s election.

Grassroots

Some in the party’s grassroots are unhappy that the contest wasn’t contested. One activist, Joe Kenny from Limerick, told Claire Byrne that members there had lobbied Jan O’Sullivan to second Kelly’s nomination to ensure the members could elect a leader.

He called the decision “high handed” and “dirty politics”. He said that some members would leave the party due to the move.

Read: Power outage: Today was as much about Alan Kelly as it was Brendan Howlin

Read: Brendan Howlin is the new leader of the Labour Party

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